Friday 2 October 2020

Hello Jimmy!

Hello Jimmy!
written and illustrated by Anna Walker (Puffin Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781760893422

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Visually this a beautiful book from the fly pages with a scattering of green feathers through to a middle double-page spread of a boy in the grey of his night-time bedroom surrounded by gorgeous birds of every colour (which fly out of his window), and beyond to well-designed pages, with judicious use of white space. The illustrations manage to capture the tenderness and nuanced story of a small boy and his father.

The book’s dedication reads, ‘… for the child who feels lost, may you feel found and know that you are loved.’ This is a tender story of love and unconditional acceptance.

Jack’s dad is alone but visited by his son who wonders if he is lonely as his house is so quiet (‘Jack knew what that felt like’). Things change when Jack visits and discovers that Dad has a green parrot, found on his doorstep. His name is Jimmy and Dad thinks he’s amazing. When Jimmy talks to Jack, he says, ‘Be good, Jimmy’, but Jack is annoyed (‘Don’t call me Jimmy! My name’s Jack.’) The bird is a great companion for Dad, but Jack wishes he could be as amazing: he seems to have come between them with Jack wondering why Dad doesn’t feel the same about him. But of course, that is not how the book ends.

This imaginative and touching story is one of persistence and optimism and love, too. It is sure to be enjoyed by readers from 5+ years.


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